Readers’ Place

Out Into the Wild!

It’s summer! Let these titles inspire you to go out into the wild!

wild by natureWild by nature: from Siberia to Australia, three years alone in the wilderness on foot  by Sarah Marquis                 613.69 MAR
Marquis’ 2010-13 trek from Siberia to Australia, described here, took two and half years and covered over 10,000 miles. Though she encounters many dangers including dehydration, harassment, illness, and in one hair-raising sequence, machine gun-toting drug smugglers in Laos-Marquis also experiences deep communion with nature. Marquis’s revelations of the size and beauty of the least-populated and most vast spaces of our planet convey a sense of wonder and gratitude.

Hidden half of natureThe hidden half of nature: the microbial roots of life and health   by David R. Montgomery and Anne Biklé             579.175 MON
A geologist and a biologist and environmental planner chronicle the transformation of their desolate Seattle backyard into a fertile garden and how they learned about the importance of beneficial microbes in their newly revived soil. The authors’ blending of science and history, combined with personal insights, keeps the balanced narrative moving at a rapid pace, while simultaneously integrating the dark story of American agriculture’s co-option by the chemical industry, the result of which is depleted soil with fewer microbes and an unsustainable food production system. Biklé describes her bout with cancer and the resulting changes she made to her garden and dietary habits.

invention of natureThe invention of nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s new world by Andrea Wulf  509.2WUL
Humboldt, writes the author “saw the earth as a great living organism where everything was connected, conceiving a bold new vision of nature that still affects how we understand the world.” His insights marked the end of the universal view (at least among scientists) of animals as soulless automatons and the belief that humans were lords of the Earth. The son of a wealthy Prussian aristocrat, he used his money to finance his iconic, grueling 1799-1804 expedition through the jungles and mountains of Latin America, ending with a long visit to President Thomas Jefferson, a lifelong correspondent. He eventually returned to Europe, wrote of his experiences in 34 bestselling volumes, and continued to travel, lecture, write, and excite artists, poets, scholars, and scientists for the remainder of a very long life.

Into the heart of our worldInto the heart of our world: a journey to the center of the Earth: a remarkable voyage of scientific discovery  by David Whitehouse  551.11WHI 
Guided by the most up-to-date scientific findings, British science journalist Whitehouse commands an imagined voyage into Earth’s interior, presenting a quick synopsis of our current understanding of the Earth’s layers and then descending into the Earth’s crust as far as he is physically able. Filling his pages with curious facts, brief biographies, and scientific theories about Earth’s inner structure, Whitehouse proffers explanations of Earth’s formation, the origin of the Moon, and more. Whitehouse surveys the baffling nature of Earth’s solid core and concludes his work, fittingly, with discussions of the planet’s possible demise as well as that of other planets near and far.


Compiled by Ina Rimpau


Posted by Barbara | 9 Aug 2016 | Comments Off on Out Into the Wild!

Far, Far Away

Do you continue to feel the need for your reading to transport you to another place and time? Here are some new titles that do just that.

At the Existentialist CafeAt the existentialist café : freedom, being, and apricot cocktails with Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Albert Camus, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and others  by Sarah Bakewell   142.78 Bak
Bakewell focuses upon key individuals Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Martin Heidegger and on their interactions with each other and with the historical circumstances of the harsh twentieth century. With coverage of friendship, travel, argument, tragedy, drugs, Paris, and, of course, lots of sex, Bakewell’s biographical approach pays off, in part because certain abstractions, like Sartre’s enigmatic notion of freedom, seem to make more sense when one knows something about the man’s mess of anxieties and personal entanglements. Heidegger, with his questionable postwar rehabilitation and inward-turned gloominess, less so. De Beauvoir emerges as very much the hero: humanistic, prescient, and fearless.

About WomenAbout women : conversations between a writer and a painter by Lisa Alther  813.54 Alt
Lisa Alther and Françoise Gilot have been friends for more than twenty-five years. Although from different backgrounds (Gilot from cosmopolitan Paris, Alther from small-town Tennessee) and different generations, they found they have a great deal in common as women who managed to support themselves with careers in the arts, while simultaneously balancing the obligations of work and parenthood. About Women is their extended conversation, in which they talk about everything important to them: their childhoods, the impact of war on their lives and their work, fashion, self-invention, style, feminism, child rearing, the creative impulse and the importance of art.

My Holiday in North KoreaMy holiday in North Korea: the funniest/worst place on Earth by Wendy E. Simmons     951.93 Sim
There is nothing like travel to a truly awful place to put American problems into perspective. Photographer, blogger, and world traveler Simmons has chronicled her ten-day journey through North Korea, where handlers schedule Simmons down to the minute and batter her with lectures on American imperialism and Korean superiority. The deceased revered Great Leaders are still running the country from their mausoleum but have come up short on providing electricity and toilet paper to the citizens. Factories and sports arenas are empty until the group stops by, and then orderly crowds of North Koreans rush in. An experience and a read simultaneously humorous, appalling, and very sad.

Compiled by Ina Rimpau

Posted by Barbara | 22 Jul 2016 | Comments Off on Far, Far Away

June Summer Reads

Whether you’re going away or staycationing, here are 4 titles that provide a change of scenery and pace.

Dig PrestonThe dig by John Preston, 2016 FIC Preston
In 1939, a farmer’s widow in Suffolk, England, discovers she has buried treasure on her farm. Based on the true story of the Sutton Hoo archeological dig, Preston weaves a story of rivalries and the past’s hold on the present.



Blue between sky and waterThe blue between sky and water by Susan Abulhawa, 2015 FIC Abulhawa
Abulhawa traces a family’s fragile existence in a Gazan refugee camp through profiles of its strong women, starting with Nazmiyeh, arriving there soon after her marriage in 1948, following the Israeli attack on Beit Daras. The family gradually disperses, with her brother, Mamdouh, moving to North Carolina. His granddaughter, Nur, is raised with only snippets of information about her Palestinian heritage, until she travels to Gaza, where she meets her long-unknown cousins and aunts.


This was not the planThis was not the plan by Cristina Alger, 2016 FIC Alger
An overwork-and-alcohol-induced lapse in judgment at a company cocktail party leaves Charlie an unemployed attorney. This was not the life plan Charlie had in mind: no income, parenting a quirky young son, and facing his own estranged father.



Miracle on Monhegan IslandThe miracle on Monhegan Island  by Elizabeth Kelly, 2016 FIC Kelly
Dog-napped Ned, an intelligent, highly observant and intuitive three-year-old shih tzu, narrates the story of  the four men of the Monhegan family as they struggle to reconcile their past resentments, ongoing personality differences, and inner demons, amid small-town gossip,  while housed in the dilapidated Maine family home.


Ina Rimpau

Posted by Barbara | 7 Jun 2016 | Comments Off on June Summer Reads

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